The wrath of clear water
by Mike Gerry
The winter angler is always met with many different issues to overcome, one of those is clear water. In most cases, in the winter, the water clears quickly, even after strong winter rains. I am sure there is a scientific reason for it but no matter, the fact remains, you must be able to overcome this winter obstacle.
I believe that the clear water can be your friend but you must understand the dynamics and positives and use them to pick your places to fish.
First, let us make sure we are rigged correctly to fish clear water. I like using Vicious fluorocarbon line in the winter, it blends into the clear water very well and is a great line for fishing crank baits or shakey heads as it is strong enough to put that big bite in the boat. Secondly, what-ever your bait, fishing subtle colors like whites, root beers, or just shad-type shades are some of the keys to working your bait in the clear water.
Let us also not forget that clear water helps the sun warm the water, especially around docks, riprap, lay downs or deep structure. Water temperature can be a key to finding bass, so choosing an area to fish that is a warming blanket that attracts fish will help you find that big winter bag.
It is also a fact that bass are very lethargic during the winter and often that clear water helps you put your bait exactly where you need for it to be to get a bite, as proximity to structure and accuracy can be a key to winter fishing.
The fact that fish do not like the bright sun in clear water can help you find fish, as many times the shady part of structure, especially deep structure, allows you to eliminate some of the angles that you must use when the water is more stained. Current also hides the sun, so look for jetties of water deflecting the sun.
The key is not to let the clear water intimidate you during the winter, take what is being given to you and make it work for you by lure choices, fish the areas that make sense to fish in these clear water conditions.